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Feb. 15: Dueling school systems. Plus other letters to the editor

School buses depart from a lot in Mississauga on Feb. 1.

Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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One board for all

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Surely it is time to do away with the dual system of school board funding (In Push For Funding, Ontario Catholic Boards Look Beyond Faith To Enroll More Students, Feb. 13).

It has always cost taxpayers more, complicating rational planning. And it disadvantages the public system, which must accept all students, regardless of family background, while the Catholic schools can pick and choose based, it seems, on interviews with the parents.

Where might that leave the children of single or less-committed parents, whose first language is not English, or who have behavioural problems?

Let's have one equal, and more affordable, system for all.

Carol Town and Richard Harris, Hamilton

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Contrary to Alberta law professor Eric Adams's views, I believe that political conditions are indeed ripe to amalgamate the public and Catholic school systems in Ontario.

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As leader of the Ontario PCs in 2007, John Tory's mistake was to suggest funding all religious schools. He would have had my vote had he proposed funding none.

It is long past time Ontario joined the modern secular world that Quebec and Newfoundland now inhabit. They couldn't afford separate systems, and neither can we.

Amalgamating the school boards is part of the Green Party platform for the coming Ontario election. Will any other political party have the courage to challenge so many entrenched stakeholders for the public good? The public school system educates all children, but Catholic boards get to pick and choose, and reap the associated financial benefits. How is that moral or fair?

Alison Harvey, Ottawa

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In Manitoba, there is not a Catholic school system, but there is a mechanism for independent (non-public) schools – faith-based or not – to exist, and it has been a good compromise that preserves both choice for parents and quality of education.

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The independent schools have to follow the public curriculum, and the public purse in Manitoba does not fund construction or capital upgrades of those schools, but funds each student the equivalent of 1/2 of what a public school student is funded. Those schools charge tuition to parents for the balance of the money.

The system actually saves money for the public system and allows parents to choose which school to send their children to.

But it ain't perfect. Despite often generous full- and part-bursary programs, tuition can be high enough that some families can't afford to send their kids. However the alternative of sending their children to a public school is not a bad one, since the quality of education and outcomes is usually equivalent.

As parents of two boys who went to independent schools, we chose less expensive cars and vacations and spent the money on their schooling – that was our choice and we felt it was worth it. They got the education we wanted them to have, and no harm was done to the public system or its students.

Peter Smith, Winnipeg

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Seeing justice done

Almost 100 years ago, Britain's Lord Chief Justice Gordon Hewart said, "Not only must justice be done, it must also be seen to be done." That is what is at issue in the Gerald Stanley trial, and what the Prime Minister and Justice Minister are talking about (Liberals To Examine Jury-Selection Rules After Acquittal In Boushie Killing, Feb. 13).

While there may have been nothing wrong with the application of legal system procedures that led to the verdict, it is the procedures themselves that are being questioned. Our legislators have every right to discuss the potential need to change those procedures, in order that justice be seen to be done.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is right: When our 4-per-cent Indigenous population supplies 25 per cent of all prison inmates, there is something wrong with the system. Furthermore, we, as a nation, would be fools not to believe there still exists much prejudice against First Nations.

The trial of a white suspect for the killing of a First Nations victim has simply brought these problems to the fore. When the prosecution rejects all prospective jurors who appear Indigenous, and a visibly all-white jury finds the white suspect not guilty, justice is not seen to be done.

Hope Smith, Calgary

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Deadly force

I am puzzled and dismayed with the outcome (and some of the commentary) of the Stanley trial regarding the death of Colten Boushie (Stanley Acquitted In Shooting Death Of Boushie, Feb. 10).

How could Mr. Stanley have no responsibility for this death? I fear that the implications of this acquittal will lead us down the road to the use of deadly force that is so rampant in the United States, with its bizarre "stand your ground" defence.

If Mr. Stanley had the right to defend himself and his property with a loaded firearm, did he not also have the responsibility to use it only for that defensive purpose?

Mr. Stanley chose to point the gun at Mr. Boushie's head, rather than many other safer options, clearly an offensive, threatening act that lead to an "accidental" but unwarranted and unnecessary death. How does a criminal negligence or manslaughter conviction not apply here?

We should be very wary of allowing the careless use of deadly force, by anyone, to become acceptable.

Ivan Dafoe, London, Ont.

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Powerful neighbours

As Konrad Yakabuski points out, Hydro Québec "is sitting on massive surpluses" (Northern Pass Rejection Would Have Repercussions For Hydro-Québec's Future, Feb. 14). So why is Ontario not taking advantage of this situation?

Hydro Quebec is offering Massachusetts power at a cost that is roughly one-third of what Ontario Power Generation wants for power from rebuilt reactors. We don't need to build a new transmission corridor through a mountain landscape to get this power – we simply need to use our existing connections. It is a no-brainer for both provinces to make a deal.

Unfortunately, Ontario can't stop musing about some farfetched future where problem plagued nuclear power actually makes sense. It is time to for the Wynne government to stop dreaming and start dealing.

Jack Gibbons, chair, Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Toronto

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From the Tickle Trunk

In early 1978, I was leading discussions for a women's book club (Mr. Dressup Premieres, Feb. 13).

One participant often shared wonderful stories about the funny things her four-year-old said. One day she told us they had had a serious discussion about Casey and Finnegan, whom the little boy adored and who played prominent roles in his make-believe.

His mother was beginning to wonder about his grasp of reality. Finally she said, "Darling, you do realize that Casey and Finnegan are puppets, don't you?"

Very seriously, the child confided, "I know that, mommy, but I don't think Mr. Dressup does."

Honey Thomas, Mississauga

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